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Climate Change and Tibetan Lakes

29.9N 89.0E

May 27th, 2013 Category: Lakes

China – May 28th, 2013

Tibet is in trouble, as climate change is now happening faster than in many areas, with multiple impacts on human livelihoods, rangeland degradation, desertification, loss of glaciers and more. The Tibetan Plateau is close to two per cent of the land surface of our planet; and is a huge island in the sky, between four and eight kilometres above sea level, exerting a profound impact on Asia, even on the north Pacific.

Trouble in Tibet means trouble downstream and downwind from Tibet, across Asia, where Tibetan rivers flow and Tibetan climate generates and regulates monsoon rains over Asia. The damming of Tibetan rivers, commercial fishing of Tibetan lakes, many of which can be observed throughout this image, as well as the draining of wetlands and introduction of invasive alien species all compromise Tibet (click here for more information).

Smoke in India, Lakes in Tibet

28.0N 84.0E

November 20th, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes, Mountains

India – November 19th, 2012

 A cloud of smoke from fires in northern India (click here for previous images) creeps eastward along the foot of the Himalayas towards Bangladesh. The high mountains prevent it from blowing northward across Nepal, into Tibet, China. Visible in the upper half of the image is the Tibetan Lakes Region, a large area of hundreds of lakes dotted across the Tibetan Plateau.

Haze Over Northern India

28.6N 79.2E

October 24th, 2012 Category: Fires, Mountains

India – October 23rd, 2012

A smoky haze, likely caused by agricultural fires, hangs over northern India, obscuring much of the valley below. The tall crests of the Himalayas prevent it from spreading further north into Nepal and Tibet.

Smoke by Himalayas, Nepal

27.9N 83.5E

May 25th, 2012 Category: Fires, Lakes

India - May 23rd, 2012

A veil of haze or smoke hangs over northern India and Nepal, and is particularly concentrated over the latter country by the southern slopes of the Himalayas. The tall mountains prevent it from spreading further northward into Tibet, China. There, many lakes can be scattered across the Tibetan Plateau, composing what is often referred to as the “Tibetan Lakes Region”.

Tibetan Lakes Region North of Himalayas, China

29.8N 85.3E

November 24th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Mountains

China - November 23rd, 2011

The Tibet Autonomous Region is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the highest region on earth. In northern Tibet elevations reach an average of over 4,572 metres (15,000 ft).

Physically, Tibet may be divided into two parts, the “lakes region” in the west and north-west, and the “river region”, which spreads out on three sides of the former on the east, south, and west. Both regions receive limited amounts of rainfall as they lie in the rain shadow of the Himalayas (visible crossing the lower half of the image), however the region names are useful in contrasting their hydrological structures.

The lake region is an arid and wind-swept desert, dotted over with large and small lakes, generally salt or alkaline, and intersected by streams. The lakes are generally without outlet, or have only a small effluent.